James G. McGann

Director, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program 

James G. McGann is a senior lecturer of International Studies at the Lauder Institute and director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to assuming his current post, James was Assistant Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as the Senior Vice President for the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomats, the Assistant Director of the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, and the Public Policy Program Officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts. James earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a National Fellow at Stanford University while writing his doctoral thesis, which examined the nature and evolution of public-policy research organizations in the United States such as Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, Urban Institute, and others. James compared and contrasted the mission, structure, and operating principles of these leading think tanks to determine how those factors influenced the institutions’ role in policymaking. His research and consulting have enabled him to work with governments and civil society organizations in over 90 countries. He is the creator and editor of the Global Go To Think Tank Index.

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) is designed to increase the profile, capacity, and performance of think tanks at the national, regional, and global levels, so they can better serve policy makers and the public. TTCSP conducts research on the relationship between think tanks, politics, and public policy, produces the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index, develops capacity-building resources and programs, supports a global network of close to 7,000 think tanks, and trains future think tank scholars and executives. It is often referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank”.